Bionic arms you can control with your mind

Mind control robotics

Bionics is more than just science fiction made real. There are millions of people out there who rely on robotics to lead an ordinary life. For example, those born without arms and/or legs now have access to some amazing technology.

Did you know, for example, that there are bionic arms that you can control with your mind? This innovative technology has been around for a while. However, as the years go by, it's increasingly likely that we will see mind-control bionics become readily available.

But how exactly does a mind-controlled arm actually work? Let's take a closer look.

 

The Bionic Basics

Leading arm prosthetics can now allow users to control their joints, hands, and fingers with minimal effort. In fact, mind-control bionics do precisely what you expect them to – they act based on thought! Therefore, while the technology is still relatively new, you can expect a bionic arm to mimic real movement exceptionally closely.

But how does surgery actually work? Innovators can connect nerve endings to bionics through a procedure known as sensory re-innervation. This process will not only let users pick up and interact with objects but to touch and feel them, too.

This interactivity and pioneering surgery were brought forward by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. DARPA's work allows surgeons to map your nerves and networks to the technology used in prosthetics. It's fascinating!

 

What Can You Do?

The Applied Physics team at John Hopkins University designs and builds modular prosthetic limbs. MPLs work with your nerves and brain signals to interpret what you'd like your arm, hand, and fingers to do.

Pioneers working on MPLs can create a sense of touch through bionic hands, thanks to a vast map of sensors. These cleverly work to communicate with the nerves that drive these feelings. MPLs are becoming very popular with prosthetic wearers, though they may remain expensive until they are more available in the mainstream.

This is a massive breakthrough. Previously, prosthetics wearers could regain some use of their arms and legs; however, touch was always out of the question. Through sensory surgery and advanced robotics, it's entirely possible to regain these feelings!